Making History Blog

Many of these articles have been published in the Mendocino Beacon’s Kelley House Calendar.

Nicknames on the Mendocino Coast

Nicknames on the Mendocino Coast
Francisco Faria, also known as Portugee Frank, was born in 1799 on the island of Pico in the Azores. As far as we know, he was the first Portuguese to come to the Mendocino Coast. When he died in 1904 at the advanced age of 105 years, he had lived during 3 centuries. Nannie Escola was a retired teacher and historian who contributed much to the Kelley House Museum. She passed on decades ago, but she left us with dozens of[... see full page]

Talking With … Emery Escola in 2000

Talking With … Emery Escola in 2000
Steve Jordan (left) and Emery Escola (center) with students Kahlil Robinson, Jonathan Matlin, and Matt Stephens in 2000. In was almost 20 years ago that students of Ryan Olson Day’s Options Class at the Mendocino Middle School created an oral history project with the help of Steve Jordan and a grant obtained by Deena Zarlin. They made audio recordings of their interviews with 12 “Old Timers,” who told these children what it was like in the first part of the 20th century. Kept[... see full page]

Dolls That Tell Our Stories

Dolls That Tell Our Stories
Kewpie dolls were used to promote many things in the 1920s, from Jell-O to women’s suffrage. Let me introduce Pauline. She is remarkably well preserved for her age. And unlike many of us older folks, everything still pretty much works. Her large blue eyes, shiny as glass, look straight ahead and are framed by arched brows and delicate lashes. The skin on her arms and legs is just a little wrinkled and patched in a few places. Her rosy-cheeked face is[... see full page]

Christmas Shopping in Decades Past

Christmas Shopping in Decades Past
December 18, 1964 Holiday Shopping Advertisement in the Mendocino Beacon for Matson’s Men’s Wear Nowadays it’s trendy (and logical) to “shop locally,” but decades ago that’s what everyone did for the holidays and the merchants who advertised in the Mendocino Beacon and Fort Bragg Advocate-News wanted readers to know everything their hearts desired was waiting for them right here on the coast. In 1929 the Post Office Store in Fort Bragg (a new business in an old post office facility?) wanted parents[... see full page]

Holiday Events at the Kelley House

Holiday Events at the Kelley House
Fedora "Cookie" Urbani, age 10, playing her clarinet at Christmas in 1940. (Kelley House Museum – Fedora “Cookie” Holmes Collection) There’s a lot going on at the Kelley House Museum! Dolls! Our Holiday Exhibit is now up, and among the antique toys we pulled from the archives you’ll find three dolls that Daisy Kelley MacCallum used to played with, right here in her childhood home on Albion Street. This year they have new playmates. Several Victorian-era girl dolls have come to visit,[... see full page]

Painting Mendocino's Maritime History

Painting Mendocino's Maritime History
Lumber Schooner Maxim, one of painter David Thimgan’s artistic subjects, on Caspar beach in 1884. The Coast Road can be seen winding down the hill on the right, and circling around the base of the hill behind the beached schooner. (Kelley House Museum, Emery Escola Collection #1995-001-27) Sometimes a researcher can find a link to Mendocino coastal history when you least expect it. Sorting archive materials at the Kelley House Museum I discovered artist David Thimgan. In a 1994-95 winter issue of[... see full page]